I love to read, and lately I’ve read some really good books! God has allowed me to rub shoulders with some very wonderful people via their stories, and I’m so thankful to be able to pass along to you some of my very favorites!! (Side note: This post contains links to products that I have read, enjoy, and recommend, but they are not affiliate links. I get nothing from recommending them.)
When I was younger, I read every single book on parenting I could find. Some were helpful. In fact, some were very helpful! But some were not. I remember particularly one book that made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I liked the cover, and the description looked like it would be very helpful. But reading the book made me feel as though I had not only made a ton of mistakes, but I my children would be ruined completely unless I did everything the book said! Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as that, but at the time, it sure seemed that way. After that, it was awhile before I picked up another parenting book.
I found that discouraging books cause me to expect more out of my husband and children than they are able to give. Friction ensues, and the whole family unit is put out of whack. I remember one book that said that a father should start a business, so he could teach his boys to work. Well, my husband is a missionary and we travel a lot, and he was unable to start his own business. I became frustrated with my husband, until I learned to accept him and his calling the way it is.
Contrast that book with an encouraging one.
An Encouraging book:
A) Gives you hope – You’re not alone, and you CAN do it! The author doesn’t come off as a know-it-all, someone who is “imparting his vast store of wisdom” to you – he is a human being, just like you, who has gone through the same things and has come out on the other side SUCCESSFUL! He tells us, not how we should do it and why we’re not doing it right, but how he did it, and how we can do it too!
B) The message from the author is not, “I’ve always been awesome,” but “I was born with certain weaknesses in these areas, and this is how I was able to overcome them.” He does what he does in spite of all his learning problems, communication difficulties, and financial setbacks.
C) Points you toward a definite, reachable goal. It may even break those goals down into smaller, even more manageable parts. Many How-to books fit into this category.
Here are some of my faves:
1. Success despite setbacks – Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is the result of his filing for bankruptcy, and then learning a huge lesson on how to really handle money before it goes and handles him. It’s a boy-meets-money, boy-loses-money, boy-gets-money again story, with Dave owing his ultimate success to things he’s learned from simple folks and their common sense.
2. Survival against all odds – Marcus Lutrell’s Lone Survivor. (we downloaded in and used the “replace with” key to change they cuss words into more acceptable alternatives, since we read it out loud as a family.) The book follows his training all the way from his childhood to the incredible mission, in which he alone survives. The character of these men is inspiring and amazing!
3. Learning to Succeed Despite Flaws in Your Character – Frank Bettger’s How I Went From Failure to Success in Selling. This is my husband’s favorite book, because he can identify with Frank’s failures, and, although we are in the ministry, we are showing Christ to a hungry world, and we can’t afford to fail because of our own character flaws.
4. Losing Weight By Eating – Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene and Pearl. Their book describes how people have used their program to lose weight while not feeling deprived one bit! I’ve been using their program since January myself. I’ve wanted to shed the stubborn last ten pounds, and gain control over my hypoglycemia, which seems to dictate everything I do. Their book, and the program they use (and now I use!) has helped me tremendously! In fact, I am finally down to the same weight I was when I got married, and I get to eat chocolate cake every night! (If you want to know the recipe, ask in the comments section!)
5. And my personal favorite: Learning to Parent Despite the Way I was Raised. OK, so this is my own book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children From the Claws of the Devil. Many of the folks I interviewed did not come from ideal homes, and yet they still are serving The Lord today, and are raising their own children to love and serve The Lord. These young people understood that their parents were not perfect, but they were able to sort through the bad to find the good, and then clung to the good.
I remember speaking to one parent of a godly second generation Christian. I knew she had had a very rough childhood, and struggled with confidence regularly. I asked, “What did you do that pointed your children in the direction of serving The Lord?” She looked puzzled, thought a minute, and replied, “I don’t know. Prayed??” But when I talked to her adult son, he was able to point to his mom and tell me, “Yeah, I know she’s not perfect. But she was real. She loves God with all her heart, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.”
Don’t read books that make you feel like a maggot. Read encouraging books that will lift you up and give you hope.
And if you haven’t gotten your copy of Lionproof yet, you can get it today!
Question: What good books have you read lately? Why?